In Pursuing Career Success, Clarity is Key
In his famed audio program, The Strangest Secret, Earl Nightingale defined success as, “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
To achieve Nightingale’s definition of success, two things have to exist. The first being an ideal, the more well defined, the better. The second thing is pursuit (pronounced: work).
In the interview Port shared insight he learned from the end of his first marriage. His divorce, like other challenging seasons of life, was emotional and draining. Of course, life carries on and certain things still have to get done. For Port, his vision for how the story of his first marriage would play out was of the utmost importance.
Port went on to say that by taking the time to specifically define what was important to him, he was much more capable of dealing with the unexpected obstacles life threw at him.
Amidst the emotional turmoil of something like a divorce, or just the emotions we feel every day, a person can find themselves reacting to circumstances that aren’t very consequential in the grand scheme of things.
By instinctively reacting to everything that comes up, we deplete our energy and resources, leaving less than adequate amounts for handling more crucial aspects of a situation. When this happens, seldom does our intended outcome become reality.
For Port, the clarity he gained from becoming very specific in his intent allowed him to better allocate his energy and resources. By only reacting when it would have a positive impact on fulfilling his chosen purpose, the experience of divorce became much less chaotic and Port finally started to see the outcome he was hoping for.
When it comes to your career, this same kind of clarity can be achieved through the exercise of writing a professional mission statement.
Write a Professional Mission Statement to Define a Career Worthy of Your Pursuit
In the same way Michael Port gained clarity by being specific with his intent, writing a mission statement will help you determine between future career moves that offer potential for work fulfillment and career moves that would be a misuse of your limited time and energy.
Even on a micro level, writing your own professional mission statement will give you direction on how to divide your time and attention among daily tasks.
Put simply, the real purpose of a well written professional mission statement is to ensure you get the greatest return for your limited resources, rather than having them squandered on things that only serve as distractions for your chosen career track.
Start by Thinking about Which Aspects of Life and Work are Most Important to You
Once identified, the aspects of life and work that you hold in highest regard can be used to write a mission statement specific to the career you want to lead.
Then Write it Down
Don’t just write your professional mission statement, give it a home.
Moving forward, your professional mission statement can serve as the litmus test by which you assess decisions on how to proceed in your career. For this reason, having easy access to a copy of your written mission statement is pretty important.
Giving your career’s mission statement its own home, rather than just including it among the pages of a journal, will make it easier to find when you need to revisit it.
You may want to keep a copy of your mission statement on your phone or you might want to frame it and hang the frame somewhere that you’ll see it every day.
Ask Yourself These Questions While Writing Your Professional Mission Statement
- What is important to me personally? Are family, friends, gender equality issues, religion, freedom, the safety of children among the things that inspire you to impact the world?
- What is important to me professionally? Do you wish to provide value, become better than you were yesterday, earn a specific salary, or bring order to struggling companies?
- What change would I like to see in the world? Are there social or humanitarian causes that you care to champion?
- What are the roles I have that are essential to who I am? Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, teacher, preacher, coach? How do these roles impact your career fulfillment?
- What are the three values I hold in highest regard? Do you value honesty, curiosity, development of others, or something else among all others?
- What questions should I ask myself when making a decision? Is it important to you that every career decision demonstrates progress, gives service to your career fulfillment, or has an effect on your family and other people?
Example of a Professional Mission Statement
In everything I do I will be curious, I will learn new things, I will provide value, I will question my impact onto others, I will have ambitious standards, I will be a model of integrity, my decisions will be sound (unbiased), and I will not obstruct the progress of my successors.
A professional mission statement is not something that is necessarily permanent, but it can give you great clarity on how to best achieve career success and fulfillment over a significant period of time.
Changes in life circumstance have a way of affecting our outlook on a lot of things. However, if written honestly and thoroughly, your career’s mission statement isn’t something you should have to rewrite often.